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PM Modi attend Sri Sri’s World Culture Festival, AOL pay fine of Rs. 25 lakhs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday arrived at the venue of the World Culture Festival, a mega global event being organised on the banks of the river Yamuna, where thousands of people from India and abroad are expected to attend.

PM Modi attend Sri Sri’s World Culture Festival-AV

Moments before the opening, rain and hail led to chaos at the site that covers a 1000 acre area starring a stage as big as six football fields for 35,000 performers from 150 countries.

Despite the rain, PM Modi arrived and was seated next to Sri Sri and a large contingent of dignitaries on an elaborate stage set up for him. The event started with chants followed by a traditional dance with the accompaniment of 8,500 musicians.

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“Yes, this is a private party, because the entire world is my family,” Sri Sri said, appearing to respond to a controversy over government’s help and funding for his event.

In a breather for the Art of Living (AOL) Foundation, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday granted the organisation run by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar three weeks’ time to pay in full Rs 5 crore fine imposed on it for organising the World Culture Festival on the flood plain of river Yamuna.

The AOL has deposited Rs. 25 lakhs on Friday and the balance Rs. 4.75 crores will be paid within three weeks.

Hearing an application filed by the AOL, the tribunal accepted its undertaking that it will not be able to pay the full fine.

In its application, the AOL had said that it is a charitable organisation and it is difficult for it to generate Rs. 5 crores in a short period.

The AOL agreed to deposit Rs 25 lakhs today itself and the balance amount within the stipulated time when asked by the NGT if a part of the penalty could be paid today as it “environment compensation”.

“How much money can you deposit today? It’s not a penalty but environment compensation,” the NGT asked the AOL.

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